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World Telecommunication and Information Society Day Focuses on Gender Equality

17 May 2012: The 2012 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) focused on the theme “Women and Girls in ICT,” in order to promote the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on gender equality.

The purpose of the WTISD, which is celebrated on 17 May, is to raise awareness of ways to bridge the digital divide and of the range of possibilities that using the Internet and other ICTs can bring to societies and economies. To celebrate the WTISD, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) held a WTISD Award, which sought to raise awareness of the 2012 theme. The award was presented to: H.E. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina; Sun Yafang, Chairman of Huawei; and Geena Davis, Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, in recognition of role in promoting women's involvement in the ICT field and leveraging ICTs' potential to achieve gender equality.

Speaking on the occasion of WTISD 2012, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for efforts to close the digital divide and the gender gap, and noted that ICTs are already benefiting women and girls in many ways. He further called for optimizing the use of ICTs to support sustainable development, stressing that, “By gathering, disseminating and analyzing information, we can accelerate action to protect natural resources, combat climate change and help vulnerable people, including women and girls.”

In his statement, Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU Secretary-General, highlighted the role of ICTs in creating opportunities for people in every walk of life and providing the framework for long-term sustainable development, and expressed determination to use the potential of ICTs to benefit women and girls. [WTISD Webpage] [UN Secretary-General's Statement] [ITU Secretary-General's Statement] [WTISD Award Webpage]